About Me

A hilarious view of life with multiple autoimmune disease and chronic illness. Lupus, Dermatomyositis, Myositis, Alopecia, Raynaud's Syndrome, Sjogren's Disease, Depression & Anxiety. I have it all and have learned to not only accept what come my way but to see the humour in all that life has to offer. If you know someone struggling with chronic illness please refer them to this blog. My hope is to brighten the days of those who need it the most and give hope that there is still a beautiful life to live even if it may be a little bit broken!

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There is Nothing More Healing than a Fluffy Friend

There is Nothing More Healing than a Fluffy Friend

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Headed back to the breast clinic on Friday and I have been cleared of breast cancer for the next 6 months.  Whoot Whoot!  The one lesion that has been bothering me has not changed and they are 99% sure that it is not cancer.  They do not want to do surgery to remove it as I currently have almost no immune system and they worry that I would get a really bad infection so I will just go back every 6 months for breast MRI’s for the next few years to keep an eye on everything but absolutely nothing to worry about.  The doctor then asked me about all of the other tests I have had to look for cancer and I explained that everything looked good so far.  She asked if I had had the colonoscopy and GI tests yet, which I have been putting off.  I told her no and she said to get them done now because I may still have cancer.  I wish that they would stop saying that out loud.  I feel like if you keep saying that out loud into the universe you may make it true.  Maybe I will make myself a business card to pass doctors saying I know what you are thinking but please don’t say it out loud.  I am starting to get the feeling that I may be slightly disappointing them that all of my tests are coming back cancer free.  I don’t think that they want me to have cancer but it would be a rare condition and a cool finding for them.  Anyway, I wrote my doctor to give him the nod to go ahead and book my colonoscopy and GI tests with my good old buddy Dr. Charles as one of my brother’s best friends specializes in this area of medicine.  Nothing like having one of your best buddies stick a camera up your rear for the holidays!  I have had a colonoscopy once before, years ago, when they were first diagnosing Lupus because of some GI bleeding.  I refused to let Charles do it at the time because, back then, I was still a little bashful about having someone I know looking up my butt so he had his associate do it for him.  Now, I’m too old to care so much anymore and I know that I will be so loopy from the drugs that I really won’t care who is doing what.  I can also count on Charles to give me a little extra bit of the good stuff so I really don’t care what is happening.  The last time I went for a colonoscopy I was really nervous as it sounded like a horrible test to me.  It really wasn’t that big of a deal though.  The procedure itself barely hurt at all and you are so drugged up that you kind of know what is going on but don’t really care that it is happening.  So I am not afraid of the actual procedure itself; I have been putting it off instead because I hate the prep the day before.  The last time I went the doctor told me to get a certain type of cleansing drink that came in a giant 2 litre jug.  The pharmacist asked me if I was sure that that was the one I wanted and I showed him what I had written down from the doctor.  He said he had types of cleanser where you didn’t have to drink as much but I felt like I had better do what the doctor asked and took the 2 litre jug.  Big mistake!  That stuff tasted like horrible poison and took me 12 hours to gag down completely.  I literally gagged and swallowed that stuff down every few minutes all day long while running back and forth to the bathroom.  It was horrible and my bottom was so sore I was slapping on baby cream for days.  Then I had a problem with the IV when they were giving me the general anesthesia.  The nurse had not inserted my IV correctly and after injecting the meds I noticed my arm was killing me and all puffy; the drugs had not gone into my vein but into my arm.  They had to redo the IV and insert more drugs and then warned me that the dose that went into my arm instead of my vein would likely take effect later on.  They did take effect on my drive home when I threw up over and over again in the car and then promptly fell asleep leaving poor Danny to shake me awake and half carry me into the house.  I guess you can understand my apprehension of doing it again but it is that final step that will say I am cancer free for this year.

The meds are really working now in making my muscles stronger and I am able to walk much better and the movements in my arms are much improved.  I want to try to get back to the gym really soon but my doctor wants me to rest for the next month to keep my immune system down so she said maybe I could try in a few more weeks. The swallowing problems still come and go but are not getting any worse.  I would be in great shape if it wasn’t for the massive doses of drugs making me feel like I have the flu all of the time.  They also keep filling my face and head with fluid so my hearing is affected and my sight is often blurry unless I am constantly dropping the horrible burning salt drops into them to suck the fluid out.  I am often wandering around hearing the ocean in my ears while my eyes see everything like I am looking under water.  Hey!  I’m a mermaid!  More like a blow fish since my face keeps inflating from the Prednisone.  Weirdly though it keeps deflating too.  I have seen pictures of people on Prednisone and their faces are swollen and round but seem to stay that was.  I will wake up in the morning with my face looking like a giant tomato but by the end of the day it has normally shrunken down to pretty much normal again, only to re inflate overnight.  I never know what I am going to see when I look in the mirror.  My hair is also growing back but in all of the wrong places.  Yesterday I shaved my forehead.  You heard me correctly; I have hair all over my forehead like a giant 4 inch unibrow.  I called Danny in to look and he was like “my god, it looks like the dog!”  So my eye brows have not come in fully, I have no hair on my arms or legs or in my nose where it can actually protect me from germs but I have a wonderful growth of hair on my friggin forehead!!!  Luckily the hair has come in really blonde so it is not that obvious but if it gets any thicker I will have to go and get it sugared or waxed.  Can you imagine the looks I will get when I tell them at the salon that I need my forehead waxed???  The hair on my head is also coming in but it is really patchy so it is pretty useless and I will most likely just shave it all off again in a couple of weeks until it comes in all over my head.  The new drug that I have just started does cause hair loss so I am pretty certain it should all start falling out again soon anyway.  I never dreamed when I first lost my hair that one day I would be cursing it coming back in again but here I am and a hairy forehead and patchy head is just plain itchy and a pain in the butt.

On to something much happier!  My brother got new puppies last week.  Two of them!!!  Check them out!!!

They are the cutest things that I have ever seen and I am so happy that they got them.  They just lost their beautiful dog, Bella, to cancer and the whole family was just completely heart broken and I know that these two pups will help to heal their hearts.  Bella was just beautiful and these puppies will have a lot to live up to but I can see that they are up to the challenge.  Sweet Bella was pretty much a perfect dog.  She was so well behaved and even rang a doorbell when she needed to go outside or if she just wanted to get your attention so you would stop what you were doing and give her a cuddle.  Two summers ago we held a wedding at my brother’s house so that my parents could renew their vows with their grandchildren on their 50th wedding anniversary.  Just as the vows came to an end, Bella pushed her way in between them to sit right in the middle and right on cue, as the vows were completed, she turned and rang the doorbell so everyone would stop looking at the bride and groom and put the focus back on her where it belonged.  I will miss her at the cottage and beach where she would arrive each day, like a superstar, posed on the end of my brother’s paddle board as they paddled around the cliffs to the beach each day.  She was also amazing with the kids and would pull them up and down the beach on the boogie boards.  She was a real beach dog.  I am looking forward to the day I get to watch Ricky board around that cliff with a puppy on each end of his board.  I have a feeling these two are going to knock him right off a few times but it should be a hilarious sight and I am so happy that my family now has two fluffy babies to comfort them while they deal with the loss of Bella.

Throughout my illnesses my biggest comfort has always been my own dog Bentley.  He is truly my number one comfort and my best friend.  If you ask my kids or husband who their favorite family member is everyone would immediately name the dog.  I really believe that if there ever was a fire in our house or any sort of disaster the entire family would end up taking turns shoving each other out of the way as we all anxiously tried to rescue the dog.  There is nothing more perfect and comforting than the love of a family pet.  We brought Bentley into our family six years ago, one year after I was diagnosed with Lupus.  I used to have a Cocker Spaniel named Skippy when I was growing up.  He was my very best friend and I loved him more than anything.  He came to live with me after I got married and I used to call him my shadow as he was always by my side for 15 years.  I even made Danny go and pick him up on our wedding night because I couldn’t bear to be without him.  When he passed away my heart was completely shattered and I missed him horribly for years.  After a year sick on meds for Lupus I thought of Skippy every day and finally I had had enough and announced to Danny that I had found the perfect puppy and we would be picking him up that night.  We drove an hour away to a farm to pick up our fluffy new family member and I have never regretted it even for a second and this dog is absolutely the most spoiled, sweet and loving dog I have ever met.

He is also absolutely hilarious and is famous for walking around and shocking everyone with his soothers.  When Bentley was a puppy my daughter was only two years old and still carried around her soothers.  Baby Bentley helped himself to one of her soothers on the very first day that we brought him home.  We quickly snatched it away from him worrying that he would chew it up and choke on the pieces but, after many soother stealing incidents it became apparent that he was not going to chew up the soothers after all but would hold them in his mouth just like he was sucking on them.  He never has eaten a soother to this day and loves to walk around with them and nap with them.  He holds them exactly right in his mouth too and if he accidentally picks it up so that it is upside down he will manipulate his mouth to spin the soother so that it twists the right way up.  People who see him walking around with his soothers are often pretty surprised.  I remember one Halloween when Bentley surprised the UPS delivery man by greeting him at the peek through by our front door dressed as Under Dog while sucking on his soother.


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He feels he must protect our house though so he will put down his soother to scream at new people at the door and then pick his soother right back up again to comfort himself.  I say scream because that is really what he does to strange adults who approach him.  He doesn’t bark but carries on, screaming and crying like someone is trying to murder him.  Strange children can come to the door or approach him any time and he just gets excited and licks them to death but he is terrified of strange adults and it is pretty humiliating when he starts screaming and carrying on like he is being murdered and we will have to stick his soother back in his mouth to shut him up.  People who come to my house or meet Bentley often do not believe what they are seeing.  I had one of my staff over working on a project with me at my dining room table when Bentley walked by.  She stopped working and looked at me in shock.  “Did I just see a dog walk by with a soother?”  Yes you did.  Now I don’t want any possible burglars who may be reading this blog to think that my dog is wuss and think that we would be good targets for a robbery because if anyone tried to break into our house I am certain that Bentley would drop his soother and scream so loudly in the face of any intruder that they would surely run off in fear or… he may just run and hide.  My best friend came over one day to drop something off at my house and I wasn’t home.  She forgot the code to my alarm and when it wouldn’t shut off the blaring alarms scared the hell out of both herself and Bentley who grabbed his soother and high tailed it up into my bed.  Once she got the alarm off and left for home she called us to let us know what had happened.  When we got home, eight hours later, Bentley did not greet us at the door.  After a frantic search for our baby we found him, still in our bed, hidden underneath our blankets frantically sucking on his soother.  He peeked his little head out from under the covers only after we called his name in our room.  He has hated the alarm ever since.

This puppy is also the most snuggly, cuddly dog in all the world and he is constantly in our laps or in our arms making sure that he is sharing his love and comfort with everyone all day long.  When he was a baby he used to sleep right on my pillow and wrap himself around my bald head at night to keep it warm, just like a little fur hat.  As he got bigger he then took over the bed and can be found right between Danny and me, each night, snoring away as he does snore pretty loudly.  It is funny, when Danny snores I find it so irritating and I huff and puff and toss and turn at all of his noises, yet Bentley snores right in my face each night and I find it comforting.  Our bed is also full of his stuffed animals that he likes to carry around and cuddle with and of course the ever present supply of soothers.  Danny likes to complain and grumble about them but he loves Bentley as much as we do and spends hours holding him in his arms.  I do my lesson planning for my company from home so Bentley is rarely alone and he is the best business partner ever.  He sits by my side while I work all day and I get to take cuddle breaks whenever I need one.

This means though that he does have a little separation anxiety and if we are all leaving the house at the same time we can hear him crying full blast as we are getting in the car and see his sad little face glaring at us out the window.  It really is heart breaking and we love seeing his happy little face waiting for us at the window as we arrive back home.

Now Bentley is in no way perfect and dogs can be expensive and a lot of work but he is worth every penny and this dog has cost us a lot of pennies.  Bentley has had issues with the ACL’s in his back legs.  He snapped one running to the back of the yard and needed a three thousand dollar surgery and then snapped the other one only a year later while taking a pee forcing us to come up with another three thousand dollars for a second surgery.  The doctor figures he was born with some issues with his ACLs which may be why he was never prone to being really active in the first place.  The poor little guy was on six weeks of bed rest both times which was not really that big of a problem for him for lying on the couch and getting cuddles is pretty much his favorite thing to do and having the kids bring him his food bowl and feed him his supper while he laid there like some sort of royalty was alright with him.

Cleaning up after a dog in the yard can also be a lot of work and pretty disgusting but I have delegated most of that job to the kids and they do it with some grumbling because they love the dog so much.  I like to mess with them while they are cleaning the doggy land mines and I make sure I wait until they are almost done to open the door and let the dog outside while yelling “fire in the hole!”  They always give me dirty looks but I know they secretly think it is really funny and my little side kick Bentley never fails me and always lets a good one go right as they are finishing up.  I can always count on him!  Bentley isn’t always perfectly behaved either, although I will say that he is probably much better behaved than most.  He does have a bit of a food problem and has nearly hypnotic abilities in the way he can stare you down while you are eating anything and if you drop a piece of food he will snatch it up in an instant.  He will also snatch food from the unsuspecting hands of children visiting our home at any given moment and once when Bryson tripped and fell while carrying an egg roll he stepped right on his face to snatch that yummy treat right out of his hand.  He also does not walk well on a leash no matter how hard we try to train him and you can often see us surfing behind him down the street as he chokes and coughs on his leash tugging us along.  The outdoor walks are pretty embarrassing too as not only are we dragged down the street but he will stop and scream, not bark, at any strange adults or dogs we pass by.  If he is off leash he loves the other dogs but on leash every dog he meets is suddenly a threat.  The only one who can walk him without too much trouble is my daughter as she is still little and I think he senses that he would hurt her if he pulled to hard so he takes it easy on her.

Our favorite vacation is when we head to Nova Scotia each summer as we get to take Bentley with us on this trip.  He is so excited to meet up with all of his summer doggy friends and loves running the beach with them and hanging by the fire at night.  The other dogs are quite a bit more active than our Bentley and he will join in on the fun for a while and then will retreat to the lawn chair where he will sit looking down on all of the frolicking dogs and kids just observing the chaos and joining in whenever it gets really interesting.  It is his favorite place to be because he gets to be off leash the entire vacation and with us the entire time as it is a safe place to run wild for weeks on end.  The couple of weeks that we are there are the happiest times of my life as I get to watch my children run and play in the woods, fields and beaches freely with their summer friends and cousins and they are always escorted by their little gang of dogs who stay by their side to keep them safe and join in on the fun.

When it is time for us to load the car and leave for home we all cry for a good twenty minutes as we drive away wishing that we could just stay forever.  Last summer, when we were packing our suitcase to go home, Bentley had decided we were not leaving and he got his soother and jumped into the suit case so we wouldn’t be able to close it up.  We thought it was hilarious and left him to it thinking he would get out when we headed to bed but he sat in that suitcase for twelve hours straight making sure that we stopped packing.  Even the poor dog wants to stay forever!

He really is our joy and my daughter once told me that it doesn’t matter what happens to her during the day because no matter how sad she gets she always gets to come home to her best friend Bentley and he makes everything all better.  I feel like a dog is the best gift you can give your children.  The work and expense that goes into them is so worth the healing and love that they bring to your family as they are simply living, unconditional love embodied in an adorably fluffy, soft and cuddly little body.  I know my heart will break one day as dogs don’t live as long as we do but I will always have a fluffy friend in my life as they are the best medicine that I can get and nothing gives me more comfort or heals my soul more than the times I spend sitting cuddling my sweet puppy.  I highly recommend that anyone dealing with chronic illness or any other issues in their life seriously think about bringing a pet into their lives.  This world would not be as beautiful without our fluffy friends and there is no one better suited to heal a broken life than a sweet puppy.

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About Me

A hilarious view of life with multiple autoimmune disease and chronic illness. Lupus, Dermatomyositis, Myositis, Alopecia, Raynaud's Syndrome, Sjogren's Disease, Depression & Anxiety. I have it all and have learned to not only accept what come my way but to see the humour in all that life has to offer. If you know someone struggling with chronic illness please refer them to this blog. My hope is to brighten the days of those who need it the most and give hope that there is still a beautiful life to live even if it may be a little bit broken!

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